The European Commission has highlighted the absence of a marketing standard for grass-fed beef.

Speaking at a meeting of agri MEPs on Tuesday 16 March, DG AGRI’s deputy director general Michael Scannell gave examples of potential marketing standard changes for several sectors.

“There is not, for example, an existing marketing standard that allows you to identify if your beef comes from animals which have been grass fed,” Scannell said.

“When the Commission presents its impact assessment and proposals, I expect we will spend quite some time in this room discussing with you on whether we are taking the right policy options.”

Level playing field

Scannell, who is a UCD-trained economist, highlighted to the group that marketing standards are not very well known or understood, but remain extremely important.

“Of the population, 99.9% might not necessarily be aware of them, but for 0.1% they are critically important.

“The standards in a great many cases are somewhat outdated and need to be brought into line with the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty.

“For good, sound, better regulation reasons, there is a need for review, particularly in the light of the Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategy.”

The Tarbert, Co Kerry, man said that when the standards were drawn up, environmental sustainability were not foremost in the Commission’s mind.

“Standards provide a high degree of transparency to consumers on the quality of the products that they purchase, as well as facilitating a level playing field for operators in EU trade and indeed imports from third countries.”